D-50 outlines high school upgrades

HARVARD – School District 50 has laid out a two-year construction schedule to get Harvard High School students the space they’ve been promised.

The district received a $13.8 million grant to be leveraged with a $22 million referendum voters approved in 2008, District 50 spokesman Bill Clow said. The referendum went toward building Crosby School, which allowed the district to drop a grade level at other schools and create more space.

But the high school remained unchanged. Now, it’ll get a facelift over the next two years: more classrooms, more commons space, a new kitchen and, for the first time, central air conditioning.

The school was built in 1921.

“Obviously, it’s had some improvements over the years,” Clow said. “But we desperately needed to, one, fulfill our promises to the community, but also to make some changes and make some additions to the school.”

The district will start the bidding process in January. If all goes to plan, construction on a second-floor to add 10 new classrooms will be complete during winter break 2013. The district also has plans to renovate specific classrooms, add a physical education teaching station and renovate and enlarge the building’s commons area.

“We’re also going to be addressing some security issues for the building,” said Steve Miller, District 50 director of facilities management. “The way that the students will have to come into the building, they’ll have to pass through the main office before they get to the rest of the building.”

Another major improvement is the update and replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and electrical systems in the building. The grant also gives the district money in the second year of the plan to renovate the HVAC system at Jefferson School.

Having central air conditioning at the high school “will expand how we can use the building in the summer months and the end of the year,” Clow said.

Most construction will occur while class is not in session.

“We’ll be able to better meet the needs of our teachers and students,” Clow said. “We’ll be able to make that building viable for a number of years going forward.”

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